Story Games for Everybody – 12 RPGs to play before you die

The meme starts here. (Note: I’ve played every game on the OP’s list, except for Burning Wheel, which I would very much like to do.)
Okay, so here’s my list of 12 RPGs that everyone should play before they die.

  • Dungeons and Dragons, for at least 10 levels
  • In a Wicked Age, to break your DnD habits while leaving you in a comfort zone
  • You have to have participated (not just had it done for you) in making up a character for either Hero System or GURPS
  • Heroquest for at least five sessions, preferably 10, to show you that you don’t need to have great power in your character to have great flexibility
  • Sorcerer, until someone reaches 0 Humanity, to play a game about relationships. If not that, Breaking the Ice
  • Inspectres, to play a game with true, full-blown player authorship
  • Either The Shadow of Yesterday until someone Transcends, or Spirit of the Century until someone becomes one of the Spirits
  • Dogs in the Vineyard, for no less than three towns with the same characters
  • Diceless done well: Nobilis, Mortal Coil , or Marvel Universe (the one with the glass stones) — for six solid sessions. If you have to, Amber Diceless, but there are far better rules out there these days
  • Either a complete game of My Life with Master or Galactic, to experience a defined end-game
  • Either a complete game of The Mountain Witch or The Roach, for well-handled player vs. player
  • Finally, make your own game and play it until it works

Unlike the original poster’s list, I have not done many of these, even as a GM. DnD, Amber, “Diceless done right”, Sorcerer, and Heroquest. Kinda-sorta a full game of Mountain Witch, though I’d like to do it again, and I’ve done single sessions of many of the other games, but never had a chance to play things all the way through to realization.
My personal list also includes the desire to play a full season of Primetime Adventures until the damned system makes sense to me without hours of talking about it, and Burning Wheel, because I actually like crunchy stuff.
I also love Jason’s version of the list:

  • A game that isn’t supposed to be, but becomes a roleplaying game anyway (Bang, Catan, Are you a Werewolf?)
  • An homebrew/heartbreaker, played with the creator, who is the only who really knows all the rules.
  • A stupid-long marathon session (I remembered the THREE-DAY DnD session in college with great, great fondness.)
  • A session that becomes part of your social group’s vernacular forever (Dave G’s “I got this…” might make that list…)
  • A game that challenges everyone’s boundaries in a meaningful way
  • The first game you ever played, played again in a new light (I still have that original pink-box DnD set in my closet, if anyone’s game…)

One comment

  1. I think I’m much closer to finishing off Jason’s version of the list. I think some of our sessions of Catan or Chez Geek have crossed over into (at least intermittent) roleplay, I’ve played Tombstone many many times with Jay, and while I don’t feel like I’ve particiapted in the stupid-long marathon session (at least according to your definition), but there are a number of sessions of games I’ve played which will go down in infamy for such events as:
    Pudd’n’s creation and harsh death
    My inability to swear — “Shitty food” indeed
    Matt’s Trials of Job.

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